Watch SpaceX Test Fire the Raptor Engine

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This is a Raptor rocket engine, and it's been fired at the SpaceX's Rocket Development and Test Facility in McGregor, Texas.

On Sunday, Elon Musk and SpaceX engineers conducted an experimental firing of the Raptor engine, which could be used for future flights to Mars.

Local media reported that the success paves the way for the hop-test debut of the Starship prototype designed for human travel to Mars, which is expected to take place in two to three months.

With a test of this magnitude, with this sort of power inside an engine of this size, a worst-case scenario means fire, and lots of it.

SpaceX Chief Executive Elon Musk announced the test in a series of tweets late February 3, a couple hours after observers near the company's test site in McGregor, Texas, has seen and heard what appeared to be an engine test of some kind.

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It comes just days after Musk's Starship prototype was knocked over by 50mph winds in Texas and suffered extensive damages.

There is no substitute for this kind of test-firing and, as Ars Technica notes, "any "first" test firing of a new, full-scale rocket engine that doesn't end in an uncontrolled explosion is a good thing".

These early tests are vital to Starship's success, but you might remember a couple of weeks back when the Starship was in the headlines for an entirely different reason.

Both of these vehicles will be reusable and Raptor-powered. "Engine use methox torch igniters".

Separate follow-on versions would be customized for use on the Starship or on the Super Heavy, packing a punch of as much as 550,000 pounds each at liftoff.

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